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December 15, 2018   
September 27, 2006 

Residents Protests Pesticide Application

City of Olean, N.Y., Public Works Director, Tom Windus has received complaints about city employees spraying RoundUp on curbs and streets to control weeds. As a result, the city will stop using weed killer and instead will spray a mixture of water and salt in an attempt to control weeds.

For Windus it was a case of no good deed goes unpunished. For several weeks residents have complained to the Public Works Department about weeds and grass sprouting from city curbs and roadways.

Windus said, as a result of the complaints, he and Mayor David Carucci decided to spray herbicide to try and control the weeds.

Windus said the city contacted both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Transportation to ensure it followed environmental guidelines during the application.

Olean resident Marcia Kelly said the city should have told the public it intended to spray chemical weed killer even if the law doesn’t require it.
“This seems to be an impulsive, uneducated decision to impose pesticide on all of us without any notification,” she said. “I just think everyone in the city should know about this.”

Windus said because the spray was confined to the street and public right of way, the city wasn’t required to give prior public notice. The city put up warning flags every 100 feet where it sprayed to notify pedestrians and residents that weed killer had been applied.

“We’ll keep those flags up for at least 24 hours,” he said.

Former city forester Edith Schrot suggested the city use brine instead of chemicals after calling Windus to complain about the chemical spraying.

Gary Abraham, an attorney for Concerned Citizens, said New York’s pesticide notification law has not been adopted by Cattaraugus County so it doesn’t apply to municipalities in the county. He said the law requires municipalities notify residents 48 hours in advance who live within 150 feet of a planned pesticide application.

Kelly and Schrot led a campaign in the 1990s to ban the aerial spraying of pesticide to control mosquitos in the city of Olean. Because of their work the city adopted a program to control mosquito larvae in the pools of stagnant water from which they emerge. As a result, the city has been able to control mosquitos while avoiding the need to blanket the community with pesticide.

Back to News/Press Releases >> Source: Landscape Online
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